Hey Addicts! Hold your heads high. This year was a great start to a new dynasty of football here in Kansas City. Some of you may be thinking I’m being too optimistic, but just wait. I’ll explain in a bit. First though, here are four things I learned from the 2013 NFL season that have relevance to the Chiefs:
Teams That Were Way Worse Than Advertised
The Giants, Texans and Washington. In this quarterback-happy era, who would have thought that Eli Manning, Matt Schaub and RGIII would all have had horrendous years and dragged their teams down with them? It just goes to show you that a great quarterback without a great coach is just not enough, and vice versa. You need both, and a system that allows each to thrive and play to their strengths.
Teams That Were Way Better Than Advertised
The Broncos, Chargers and Colts. Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck had monstrous seasons. Each of them had at least two exceptional ball catchers who stepped up this year as well. We all knew that Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker were going to be great. But who would have guessed Julius Thomas would be the second coming of Shannon Sharpe? Rivers had rookie Keenan Allen playing like a Pro Bowler and Danny Woodhead turned out to be one of the savviest pickups in the offseason. Finally, Luck had T.Y. Hilton explode in his second season and his old Stanford teammate, Coby Fleener, made clutch plays on a consistent basis.
The Raiders Outdid Even The Raiders
I could have put the Raiders in the first category – teams that were way worse than advertised. But the Raiders were historically bad in 2013. They finished the season at 4-12, including six consecutive losses to end the year. Even better, 2013 represented the eleventh straight non-winning season for Oakland. By the time the draft rolls around, they may have a new general manager and coach. Fortunately for us, they’ll still have major holes at quarterback, receiver, running back, both lines, linebackers, defensive backs – basically, everyone but their kickers. But more relevant to this post, it’s just fun to point out how bad the Raiders are. And to show how strong leadership at the top – and I’m looking at you, Clark Hunt – can turn around a franchise.
The Chiefs Are Building Toward Something Great
Here’s the explanation for my optimism. The combination of Andy Reid, John Dorsey a great coaching staff and a roster full of top-notch talent really worked this year. I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been in an offseason. I know we were all hopeful going into 2013 but that hope was based on just that – hope. Now we know what these Chiefs are capable of and with just a few upgrades, we should be in serious contention for the AFC Championship game and perhaps even the Super Bowl next year.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out this list of the last five Super Bowl winners, and what they did just one year prior to winning the ultimate championship in all of sports:
2011 New York Giants: Finished 10-6 in 2010 and second in the NFC North. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers: Finished 9-7 in 2010 and third in the NFC North. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
2009 New Orleans Saints: Finished 8-8 and last in the NFC South. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers: Finished 10-6 and won the AFC North, but lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card game, while playing at home at Heinz Field.
Four of the past five Super Bowl champions preceded their runs to greatness by either not even qualifying for the playoffs or losing in the Wild Card round. Now I know what you could say – there are a bunch of teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs this year and don’t have a chance in the world to make it to the Super Bowl next year (see “Raiders, Oakland”). But the Kansas City Chiefs have a few things in common with these past Super Bowl winners that other teams don’t: a great head coach, a great quarterback for the offensive system and a great set of defensive players. The Chiefs have all that and more.
This year was a great one for the Kansas City Chiefs, despite last weekend’s game. And Addicts, we have an exciting offseason to look forward to as Dorsey once again does his magic. The Chiefs are fortunate to go into the offseason with fewer gaps than most teams. I have an early eye on Marqise Lee, a special wide receiver from USC and free safety Hasean Clinton-Dix, who could become a great complement to Eric Berry in the secondary. Both are slotted to be picked in the second half of the first round. and the Chiefs will have the 23rd pick. With Dorsey continuing to churn through scouting reports and free agents, I am even optimistic that the Chiefs can finally become one of those teams that are in contention year after year, not just next year.
Finally, Addicts, thank you for all of your humor, commitment and engagement over these past two years! Life and work calls, so this will be my last Crowd Noise but I look forward to continuing to be an avid Addict like the rest of you.
In the meantime, go Chiefs and I’ll see you in the comments section!!